music monday: the who.
sometime deep in the midst of high school i discovered the who. i was probably in the middle of my hyper angsty i’m-almost-out-of-here-and-thank-god-because-everyone-is-dumb phase. which is perfect, because that’s basically the feeling that i got from their quadrophenia album.
side note: i did take a minibreak during listening to all the music i have of the who to find my who shirt.
because that’s not narrow minded or anything.
but i still hold that the who could have only released these four albums and still been one of the most important bands ever, ever, ever. (in my opinion.)
my generation, 1965 – the who’s first album. one can’t help but move to every track. you’ll recognize the majority of the tracks as covers of r&b hits from the 60s and feature a hell of a lot more soul than one might expect from a group of british mods.
the who sell out, 1967 – and here is the beginning of the concept album. the concept is a mock radio london broadcast so the record features unrelated songs broken up with real and original commercials for things like acne medicine and deodorant.
tommy, 1969 – tommy marks the real start of the rock-opera and it’s probably one of the creepiest albums you’ve ever heard. the story goes like this; tommy’s father, the captain, goes missing and in the meantime, tommy is born, and everyone believes his father to be dead. as one does some time after a loved one dies, tommy’s mother moves on and takes a lover. the captain returns and kills the lover in front of tommy. in an effort to cover up the murder, the parents tell tommy he didn’t see or hear anything. with a severe lack of coping mechanisms for such trauma, tommy becomes blind, deaf, and dumb. and the rest of the album is his journey through life. there are religious zealots, abusive family members, and musical redemption.
also he’s really incredible at playing pinball.
but… you know, its awesome.
UPDATED: i forgot to mention, they also made an equally awful and awesome movie several years after the release of the album. roger daltrey stars as tommy obviously, but less obvious characters include, elton john as the pinball wizard, tina turner as the acid queen, and jack nicholson as the doctor (yes, he sings.)
click the character names for clips of the spectacle.
quadrophenia, 1973 – this may be one of my favorite albums of all time. on a very basic level, this is a rock opera about the fight between the mods and the rockers in mid-1960s england. but its about jimmy, a mod, and his four distinctive personalities (hence quadrophenia) who could represent the four band members. but its actually about finding yourself through all the muck. in that way, this has been one of the most important albums to me ever. whenever i feel like i’m lost i put on this album and rediscover something. it’s just the best of all the things.
if the beginning of the song quadrophenia doesn’t send you into a frenzy of air guitar, you’re dead inside.